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The cafe, situated on a main road, gets its fair share of passing citizens not currently carrying coin. The manager generally shoos them back onto the street but sometimes gives tea and a sandwich to one or two of them, even allowing them to wheel their battered and heavily laden trolleys in and set them beside their table. A young guy, pale and sullen, wanders in and starts moving from one table to the next, aggressively demanding of each patron that they give him a cigarette. He is ignored or politely rebuffed. The manager hasn’t noticed anything. Everybody at the tables is now watching with interest if they have been approached, with mild trepidation if their turn is to come. The guy approaches a man sitting on his own, reading the paper. This man tells the guy to go away. The guy brings his fists up threateningly. The man stands up and, in a pleasant almost friendly way, says “Come on then” and assumes a boxer’s stance. He’s a big man but he’s parodying the fighter pose by giving it an upright, Victorian quality. The cigaretteless guy is transformed. He backs off rapidly and start flailing his arms like a five year old in the playground trying to rain blows on a classmate. The big man playfully lurches forward, the manager moves in, the trembling youth is shown to the door. The big man smiles untriumphantly.


Me Ree
Cafe Society II